THE MYTH OF THE 100 MILLION – What’s the left wing equivalent of the Holocaust denial?
The express goal of the bogus "Black Book of Communism" is to whitewash the crimes of fascism and portray it as a "lesser evil" compared to communism, trivializing the Holocaust and sympathizing with genocidal Nazis and their mass-murdering collaboratorshttps://t.co/81xSGUCmXJ
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) May 5, 2018
Norton’s piece is quite long and involved, and you can read it here. To list and address all its inaccuracies, evasions, omissions and rhetorical tricks would take an article several times as long, which I don’t have time to write. Someone else no doubt will. At the very best, as many commenters on Norton’s tweets have noted, to argue that communism is not as evil because it “only” killed 74 and instead of 100 million people is a rather bizarre defence of the indefensible.
It’s also quite simply not true. The figure of 100 million victims of communism might be an estimate but it is not bogus, false or fake, as Norton claims.
For starters, it is a furphy that this total includes somewhere between 20 and 30 million Soviet citizens who died during the Second World War. The exact breakdowns of the overall figure can vary between authors, but is generally made of 60 million in China, 30 million in the Soviet Union, and 10 million in other communist countries, including Cambodia and North Korea.
The Chinese figure is composed in turn of 40-45 million who starved to death during the Great Leap Forward famine of 1958-61 and around 20 million killed during the civil war and during various waves of repression between 1947 and 1976. The Soviet total includes those who died in the gulags, murdered during the Great Terror and other waves of repression, starved during the Volga famine in 1920 and the Ukrainian famine in the 1930s, as well as those who died during the civil war 1917-23.
Norton treats “The Black Book of Communism”, one of the sources of the 100 million number, as some sort of a pro-fascist whitewash, which is a gross libel on the book and its authors. Coincidentally, I have finished reading it a week or two ago, only 20 years after it has been a surprise bestseller in France where it was originally published. It’s a standard tactic of communist propaganda to try to divert all attention to Nazi crimes and paint the critics of communism and its atrocities as Nazi sympathisers. In 2017, the tactic is clearly still alive and well. The crimes of communism do not diminish or negate the crimes of Nazism or vice-versa, and the Holocaust is not less terrible for the gulags and the killing fields.
More importantly, “The Black Book” is hardly the only credible recent attempt to calculate the communism’s death toll. From R J Rummel at the University of Hawaii, whose life’s work has been chronicling what he termed “democide” and whose totals are even higher, to works by Frank Dikotter and Jasper Becker on China, and Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder and others on the Soviet Union, scholars and researchers with unprecedented access to official archives and living witnesses have written ground-breaking works that, if anything, make the initial estimates by the Cold War historians seem tame by comparison. But I guess it’s all just a giant fascist conspiracy to blacken the name of communism.
Norton, by the way, as a simple scan of his Twitter illustrates, in addition to being a communist apologist is also pro-Iran, pro-Assad, anti-Israel and anti-American, which again goes to show that intellectual scum attracts intellectual scum.